Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
What a great Spring Break it's been! By good fortune, we happened upon the Herb and Garden Festival in downtown Ocean Springs, Mississippi yesterday. The festival featured everything from arts and crafts to homegrown plants and herbs to food. We had an out-of-this-world Crab Burger from Bayview Gourmet. If you're in the area and are looking for a good place to eat, this is the place!
Upon our return home, we were able to catch a viewing of Coraline on satellite. If you haven't seen Coraline yet, I highly recommend it. I'm amazed at the amount of work put into this project; it's so beautifully detailed and well-crafted. Everything, from the smallest of props, such as tiny micro-knitted sweaters and gloves to the puppets themselves, are absolutely breathtaking. I won't bore you with a long review; if you don't own the film yet, you should grab a copy.
I was browsing through the Coraline products on Amazon.com and found these little gems:
Funny...I thought they would be Barbie-Doll sized, but she's more along the action figure scale. Doesn't matter...I still want one for my collection someday. I think if I were to get one, I would get the comicon exclusive, because the star sweater outfit is my favorite. I also like the little blue boots as well.
And it's back to working on Bunny Le Foo for me.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The Macbook Pros have arrived!
Thus far, I'm really enjoying it. It's the first laptop I've ever owned ( yes, I know I'm behind the times ), simply because I could never decide if I wanted a PC or Mac. Most of my software is already dual platform, so I won't be losing out on anything, plus we're going to keep the desktop PC anyway.
The only software I had to buy again was the Mac version of Adobe CS4, which is due to arrive today. I found the Master Collection for a stellar price at Journey Ed. Only certain Colleges and Universities are eligible for this offer, and since the Master Collection features, as far as I can tell, each and every major Adobe program, the price was too good to pass up. I'm currently running the Production Premium bundle of Adobe CS4 on my Dell, and the Master Collection I just purchased was really not that much more, plus I get four more full-sized programs, including Dreamweaver and InDesign.
If you're in need of a new copy of CS4 (Mac or PC), and can spare the funds, check out this deal and see if you qualify:
A program that I am beginning to enjoy is Corel Painter. I did a fair amount of experimenting with it today and really like the different drawing/painting options. It's a great companion to the Adobe programs. A good number of people are excited about the new Autodesk Sketchbook program, but so far I haven't seen how it is different from Painter. That's not saying anything good or bad about the program; from what I've been told, it's a good program, either by itself or in conjunction with the other Autodesk products.
In other news: Less than ten days until Clash of the Titans!
( Don't read if you don't want the movie to be spoiled!)
http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/19532 is a great source of Clash clips, including the Medusa scene! I was really impressed with the graphics and the character design. Harryhausen's Medusa will always be my favorite, though. This is the more glamorized, polished version of Medusa, and she appears to have a real voice in this version. The addition of a sinister laugh might have been a bit cheesy, and so far, she more or less "grunts," rather than "speaks," but the lighter, more feminine voice gives her more of a human-like quality, rather than the straight-up creature version of the original. I'm not sure why the filmmakers made this change; either to support the fact Medusa is intended to be a villain in this story, or just because they wanted her vocals to resemble more of a woman scorned than a monster. I suppose that makes sense, seeing as Medusa, as legend goes, was not always a Gorgon, although I can't help but think of a Clash of the Titans/Mean Girls parody whenever I watch this clip.
I don't like the redesign of Calibos, however. I know he was supposed to be deformed as part of his punishment, but I like the satyr look as opposed to the ogre look.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Dinner On The Grounds: A Soul Reviving Feast from Sarah Simonson on Vimeo.
A rich, bountiful film with mouth-watering content, Dinner on the Grounds is a film which chronicles an aspect of Church sings and meetings I believe to be often overlooked:
Food, food and more food.
Some time back, I blogged about "Awake, my Soul," a documentary about Sacred Harp Singing. Sacred Harp Singing, or "Shape Note" singing ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Harp ) for more information ). Dinner on the Grounds goes beyond the music, highlighting the tradition of what I like to call "pot-luck" style suppers. The documentary focuses on dinners at functions such as all-day sings and church homecomings. Traditionally, the ladies would bring at least one food item to the meet, usually their "signature" dish.
I remember church dinners and other such gatherings; certain people were expected to bring certain dishes they were best known for. My Aunt Bobbie brought her famous chicken and dumplings; only she knew how to make them the way she did...she didn't have a recipe, she just "made them." My Dad and my cousin Debbie have come awfully close, but neither have been able to get it just like Aunt Bobbie's. My Gram made cherry graham cracker delight. She may have had a recipe at one time, but like Aunt Bobbie, she just created the pie from a formula stored in her head. My Dad makes tongue-twisting red beans and rice. Maw-Maw had an out of this world ham baked in sugar and coca-cola. Billie McLeod, my real-life "Other Mother," makes the best Divinity Candy in Lucedale, Mississippi. It didn't matter the gathering; people expected these dishes to be a part of the spread. Why? Because of the unique "signatures" or "twists" in these dishes as dictated by the cooks who created them.
A great deal of Southern women and men don't necessarily follow recipes or cookbooks, they just cooked. They experimented, tested and created recipes in the classrooms of the school of life, and when they found a dish that worked, they replicated it over and over until the making of said dish had become muscle memory. This is how the dishes become stamped with that distinct "fingerprint" of the creator. No matter who else attempts the dish, no one can make it like the creator can. These Southern cooks passed down their recipes, either through written or oral means, to their children and grandchildren, who then add their own fingerprint to the recipe.
I cling dear to many fond memories of growing up in the South: lazy summer saturdays at the creek, football season, and of course, the food. Like many, I was accustomed to Sunday Dinners, where the entire family met at Billie's house and came together, if even for just a few short hours. We shared stories of our lives over fried chicken and homemade biscuits. Billie could ( and still does ) make the best fried chicken I've ever had in my life. It was perfectly breaded, fried at just the right temperature and was crispy, not soggy. Church's chicken could learn a thing or two from Billie McLeod.
Can you taste that mouth-watering chicken? Can you smell that unmistakable smell of fried, golden batter? Now imagine several long tables filled with a cornucopia of dishes: chicken, potato salad, turnip greens, chocolate pie, butterbeans, banana pudding ( considered a dessert staple in many Southern households ), country ham, chicken and dumplings, dressing, green bean casserole, and so on and so on...
No matter where you come from, whether it be North, South, East or West, Dinner on the Grounds is sure to leave you visually satisfied and hungry for more, footage and foodwise. My only advice would be not to watch this film on an empty stomach, because if you weren't hungry before watching, you certainly will be afterward.
Official film liner notes:
This is a documentary short about the tradition of dinner on the grounds during all day sings, homecomings, and decoration days. Edited and filmed by southern studies students Sarah Simonson, Melanie Young, and Miles Laseter at the University of Mississippi. Produced with help from Joe York and Andy Harper at UM Media Productions.
Interview with Documentary Filmmaker Melanie Young, who makes a "turn around and slap a gator, 'cause it's so good" Gumbo, to come in future postings!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
My next question is...where can I get a hot pink sewing machine?????????